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Boston's ICA: It's a Gas!

For months, we watched as the new Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston was being built on Northern Ave. It went up on a desolate parcel of land next door to the old Anthony's Pier 4, and promised to be the latest in a series of buildings that will transform the waterfront from its humble, seafaring past into its luxurious, contemporary future.

Well, the new museum finally opened this month, and I had the opportunity to visit it last night for the first time (Thursday nights after 5pm are free, courtesy of Target). And it is beautiful...on the outside:

Ica The building is designed to provide dramatic views of the water from the inside, and it certainly does that. Plus, there is a gorgeous plank wood deck that wraps around it, which I'm sure will be put to good use in the warm weather.

But the art installations inside are another story. And this is all purely subjective, of course, from someone who is not a big fan of contemporary art.

The galleries are well laid out, well lit, easy to navigate, and - to my untrained eye - provide a nice space for viewing the pieces. But the pieces...well...they certainly are conversation starters, which is I guess what art appreciation is all about.

Here, I will share the GIANT (26 ft. 2 in. x 40 ft. 1 in.) mural visitors see upon entering the museum; judge for yourselves.
This work by Chino Aoshima is called "The Divine Gas."

From the accompanying pamphlet:

The Divine Gas depicts a giant girl lying in a lush landscape. The setting seems idyllic and serene - birds soar, a deer nestles near her foot, a couple frolics hand-in-hand.

Meanwhile, a billowing cloudscape, lorded over by a genie, emerges from her bottom. A few figures sit in the clouds, while others tumble toward the ground. Has the heroine given birth to a new (though somewhat ominous) world through her "divine gas?"


Who is the troll-like figure in the clouds? A god or a demon? Aoshima describes her as: "the spirit of farting. She's cleansing the world with farts." And who are the people, apparently faint from the smell, falling out of the clouds?


Visit the ICA and see for yourself, or check out's neat interactive guide to the museum.


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